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April 2, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State softball team will look for its 32nd home opening win when it hosts Pittsburgh at 3:00 p.m. for a Tuesday doubleheader at Beard Field and Nittany Lion Softball Park. The Panthers will visit Penn State's $10.2 million facility for the first time.
The twinbill is going to be streamed live on BTN.com with Brian Tripp and Kelsey Detweiler calling the action. Penn State will also provide live stats through GameTracker on GoPSUsports.com along with commentary on Twitter (@PSULionSoftball) and Facebook (PennStateSoftball).
A portion of all tickets bought for the home-opening doubleheader will go to THON. Penn State will be giving away magnets and posters for the 2012 season, while the first 150 in attendance will receive a free Vita Coco drink. Kids are also encouraged to pick up their coloring flyer and bring it to the Michigan State series for a free ticket!
All tickets are general admission for $5 per game. Penn State students with ID are free of charge and groups of 15 or more are $3 per person. Fans will have two ways of purchasing tickets-at the Nittany Lion Softball Park ticket office on game days and the Bryce Jordan Center box office-to all softball games¬ this year. Nittany Lion Softball Park and its ticket office will open one hour prior to first pitch on all game days.
While there are no season tickets available, fans will be able, and are encouraged, to purchase tickets in advance for all games this year. The Bryce Jordan Center ticket office will be offering softball tickets during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.) as well as over the phone at (814) 865-5555. If fans wish to purchase advance tickets in person at the BJC box office no additional fees will be included, while over-the-phone purchases will incur a $1 per ticket fee. Groups interested in purchasing tickets are encouraged to contact Joel Diamond at (814) 867-2557.
PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (7-21, 0-6 Big Ten)
Games 29-309: Apr. 3 Nittany Lion Softball Park University Park, Pa.
VENUE: Nittany Lion Softball Park (1,084) COVERAGE: BTN.com TALENT: Brian Tripp (pxp), Kelsey Detweiler (color) SERIES RECORD vs. PITT: 10-4 LAST MEETING: 3/29/11, Penn State 2-0 (at Pittsburgh, Pa.) NEXT SERIES: Apr. 7-8 vs. Michigan State
Nittany Lions host Pittsburgh in their home opener on Tuesday at Beard Field
PSU is beginning a 10-game home stand against the Panthers
Penn State looking to snap 12-game losing streak
Pitt has lost eight of its past nine games, was swept by USF this weekend
Cassidy Bell is hitting .588 in the past five games including seven hits at Purdue
Penn State capped a 28-game away stretch, the longest in PSU history
Nittany Lions are 31-14 all-time in home openers
PSU looking to win back-to-back games over Pitt for first time since 2007
SCOUTING THE PANTHERS
Pittsburgh (16-16, 0-6 Big Ten) is in the midst of a four-game skid having lost eight of its last nine games including a three-game home sweep by No. 21 South Florida. Pitt's pitching has been outstanding, posting a 1.99 ERA led by Savannah King (12-10, 1.52 ERA, 115 K, 138.0 IP). While out-scoring its opponents 109-87 this year, the Panther problem has been at the plate with a .221 batting average and a .300 on-base percentage. Yvette Bravo tops the team in average at .278, while Holly Stevens (.268) is a major power threat with five homers and a 20 RBI. Freshman Carissa Throckmortan has been a pleasant addition with a three doubles, three triples and three homers to go along with 20 RBI.
Series History: Last season, Penn State split the doubleheader at Pittsburgh as Cassidy Bell hit a sixth-inning two-run home run in the nightcap to win 2-0. Pitt took the opener 2-1 on a walk-off double to salvage the split. All-time history vs. Pittsburgh can be found in the PDF game notes, Penn State leads 10-4 all-time
HOME SWEET HOME
Penn State is 31-14 all-time in home openers after winning last year's inaugural game at Beard Field (8-5 over Wisconsin). PSU has not met Pitt in the Nittany Lion opener. The Apr. 3 start date is the latest Penn State home opener since 2002 when the Lions swept Saint Francis (Pa.) 9-0 and 8-0 on the same date.
FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS
Junior centerfielder Cassidy Bell sat out 18 games from February until her return on Mar. 24 at Michigan due to an emergency appendectomy. Since her return, Bell has been on fire and one of the most consistent hitters in the country, tallying four multi-hit games in the last five outings. Currently, she's hitting .394, having posted a hit in eight of the 10 games she's played. Her return saw an 0-for-3 showing at Michigan, but since then she has gone 10-for-17 (.588) at the plate with a home run and a triple. In the series at Purdue, Bell hit .636 (7-for-11), raising her career average to .312. Despite playing just 10 games, Bell is riding a five-game hitting streak, the longest active stretch on the squad.
OH, THE PLACES WE'VE BEEN!
Penn State is accustomed to traveling all over the country to start a softball season, but the 2012 slate has been especially difficult with 28 games away from home to begin the year. The Big Ten schedule put the Nittany Lions on the road for the first two weekends, adding two more weeks and six extra games of travel to open up. By the end of PSU's 28-game sojourn, the Nittany Lions traveled 12,271 miles by bus and airplane before Tuesday's doubleheader against Pittsburgh at Beard Field.
Penn State faced the Big Ten leader in Purdue for a three-game set, but dropped all three games in West Lafayette, Ind. PSU's best chance to win came on Saturday in the opener, but the runs never came in a 2-1 loss. Morgan Long hit a single up the middle to score Lauren Yao wasting Lisa Akamine's solid outing. The senior righty went six innings allowing just two earned runs while striking out a season-high nine. Akamine struck out 16 in 12 innings of work over the weekend. The Lions left seven on base in the opener and seven more in the second game, a 7-0 loss. Cassidy Bell collected five hits in the doubleheader on Saturday before notching two more on Sunday in a 5-0 loss.
BIG TEN OPENING DAY
Penn State struggled in its opening weekend agaisnt four-time defending champion and 20th-ranked Michigan. The Wolverines took all three games with the bright spot being Cassidy Bell's return to the lineup. Bell went 3-for-6 with a home run in the final two games after an 18-game layoff due to an appendectomy. Kasie Hatfield also notched a two-hit, while Lisa Akamine hit her third-ever home run to pace PSU over the weekend.
Penn State has played arguably one of the toughest schedules in the country. In the current NFCA/USA Softball Top 25, PSU has played six opponents in Oklahoma (7th/7th), Louisiana-Lafayette (8th/8th), Michigan (20th/19th), Auburn (24th/24th), South Florida (21st/21st), North Carolina (23rd/RV) and LSU (RV/23rd). The Nittany Lions are 2-7 against ranked teams (when played) with victories at then-No. 22 LSU (5-2, Feb. 10) and over then-No. 19 Auburn (2-1, Mar. 4).
BIG TEN NETWORK SCHEDULE
Penn State will have at least 24 of its final 30 games broadcast live over the air on the auddio/GoPSUsports.com, BTN.com webcast or Big Ten Network. Below is Penn State's broadcast schedule for the remainder of the season.
Date, Opp., Gms., Coverage
3/24-25, at Michigan, 3, BTN.com
4/3, PITT, 2, BTN.com
4/7-8, MSU, 3, Audio/GoPSU
4/14-15, INDIANA, 3, Audio/GoPSU
4/21, at Wisconsin, 2, BTN.com
4/28, MINNESOTA, 2, BTN.com
4/29, MINNESOTA, 1, Big Ten Network
5/6, at Illinois, 1, Big Ten Network
5/11, OHIO STATE, 1, Big Ten Network
5/12, OHIO STATE, 2, BTN.com
Note: More games may be added
OH, THE PLACES WE'VE BEEN!
Penn State is accustomed to traveling all over the country to start a softball season, but the 2012 slate has been especially difficult with 28 games away from home to begin the year. The Big Ten schedule put the Nittany Lions on the road for the first two weekends, adding two more weeks and six extra games of travel to open up. By the end of PSU's 28-game sojourn, the Nittany Lions will have traveled 12,271 miles by bus and airplane before Tuesday's doubleheader against Pittsburgh at Beard Field.
JUDI GARMAN CLASSIC ROUNDUP
Penn State fought hard, taking two tied games against top 10 opponents into the fifth and sixth innings, respectively, but fell to No. 10 Louisiana Lafayette and No. 7 Oklahoma at the Judi Garman Classic (Mar. 16-18). PSU lost to ULL despite keeping the high-powered Ragin' Cajuns to just five runs for only the sixth time all season. Lauren Yao registered a double and a run. The Lions then gave Oklahoma everything the Sooners could take before late homers doomed Penn State. Kailyn Johnson's solo shot tied the game at one before three home runs in the sixth and seventh innings broke the stalemate. Penn State would be unable to break its six-game losing streak as rain cancelled Saturday's action against BYU and Fresno State, while an unplayable field stopped Sunday's game against Cal State Fullerton from even starting.
SPRING BREAK TOURNAMENT FINALE
Penn State finished its Spring Break trip at the USF Under Armour Showcase (Mar. 9-11). The Nittany Lions exploded for eight runs in an 8-7, eight-inning win over Virginia Tech. From there, PSU couldn't find the timely hits in four successive losses to nationally-ranked USF, Central Connecticut, USC Upstate and Rutgers. In both the CCSU and USC Upstate games, Penn State had the bases loaded in the seventh, but fell by a run in both situations. Lauren Yao paced the Nittany Lion offense with a .538 average on two doubles, two runs and a team-high three RBI. At one point, Yao strung together six straight hits in official at-bats. Lisa Akamine hit .400, while throwing 24.2 of the 35 innings pitched.
CITRUS CLASSIC WRAP UP
Penn State had a tough beginning to the Citrus Classic (Mar. 2-4), losing 13-1 to Virginia before winning four straight. During the winning streak, Penn State beat LIU Brooklyn (8-2), N.C. State (5-3), Lipscomb (4-3) and No. 19 Auburn, 2-1, in nine innings. While PSU lost to Illinois State, 1-0, in the tournament finale, the Nittany Lions had their most positive weekend yet. Lisa Akamine went 3-1 in 21 innings of work with 20 strikeouts, while Alyssa Sovereign tallied two home runs, two doubles and four RBI on .333 hitting. Lauren Yao also hit .333 with a double and three RBI, while Alyssa Renwick went .33 with four runs scored and three RBI.
CAROLINA CLASSIC RECAP
The Nittany Lions came away from the Carolina Classic (Feb. 25-26) with a 1-3 record in four hard-fought games. Penn State fell 6-3 to Notre Dame, coming back from 3-0 down, only to have a three-run home run by UND in the sixth prove to be the difference. PSU fought back in the nightcap on Saturday, beating James Madison 5-4 after trailing 3-0. Sunday wasn't as kind to the Lions as a six-run sixth pushed North Carolina past Penn State, 11-3, and JMU held off a furious five-run rally by the Nittany Lions to win 10-8 in nine innings. For their efforts, Alyssa Renwick and Kailyn Johnson earned Carolina Classic All-Tournament Team nods. Renwick hit .500 with seven hits, while Johnson belted a homer and hit over .300 at first base. Johnson has now been on two straight all-tournament teams to start the year.
TIGER CLASSIC REVIEW
Penn State opened the season in fine fashion, upsetting then-No. 22 LSU in its home ballpark, 5-3, to begin the Tiger Classic (Feb. 10-12). Penn State used five runs in the fifth inning to create a 5-1 lead. The five-run, two-out rally was capped by Kasie Hatfield's three-run double to right centerfield. Lisa Akamine pitched all seven innings to earn the victory over the Tigers. Unfortunately for Penn State, the timely hitting was not available over the next two days of the tournament, dropping a 4-2 game to Lousiana Tech, while leaving 11 on base, and falling to LSU (1-0) and Michigan (12-1). What also failed the Nittany Lions were seven errors in the field that led to six unearned runs during the weekend. Kailyn Johnson was named to the Tiger Classic All-Tournament team thanks to her .364 average and 5.33 on-base percentage. Akamine posted a 1.85 ERA in 11.1 innings pitched while holding opposing batters to .195 at the plate.
Two Nittany Lion softball student-athletes were honored by CollegeSportsMadness.com on Wednesday, Jan. 4 on its preseason All-Big Ten teams. Senior pitcher Lisa Akamine and junior outfielder Cassidy Bell were placed on the second team.
PERFECT FALL BALL
Nittany Lion softball enjoyed a successful Fall Ball season, going 8-0 in two home tournaments, while out-scoring opponents 43-4. Penn State's bats were alive, hitting .283 with four home runs, while the pitching staff boasted a 0.25 ERA in its eight contests. Penn State's first tournament was hosted at Beard Field in the Nittany Lion Softball Park as PSU rolled to a 5-0 win over Bucknell and a 9-1, six-inning triumph against Delaware on Sept. 17. The following day, Penn State downed Bucknell, 2-0, before handing Lock Haven an 8-2 defeat. Danee Collett collected eight hits, batting .727 with four doubles, a homer and six RBI. In the circle, Lisa Akamine dazzled, going 10.2 innings allowing just two hits and two walks with 17 strikeouts against 39 batters.
During the second weekend of play (Oct. 1-2), rain and cool temperatures played havoc with the schedule as all games were moved inside to Holuba Hall with a makeshift field. Akamine was again the star in the circle, spinning 15 innings of scoreless ball and striking out 23 of the 55 batters she faced with just four hits against. Kailyn Johnson was the leader at the plate, hitting .600 with a double and a homer for four RBI in Penn State's 4-0 weekend. PSU downed Cleveland State, 1-0, in eight innings, before defeating Colgate on Saturday. The Nittany Lions bounced local squads, Indiana (Pa.), 9-1, and Saint Francis, 5-0, to cap the 8-0 Fall season.
NEW CROP OF NITTANY LIONS
Penn State formally announced its seven incoming Nittany Lions from the high school ranks on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011. Joining the Nittany Lions as freshmen in the 2012-13 academic year are Taylor Abeta (San Diego, Calif.), Reina Furuya (Waikele, Hawaii), Shannon Good (Horseheads, N.Y.), Karlie Habitz (Santa Clarita, Calif.), Macy Jones (Ashburn, Va.), Lexi Knief (Ramsey, N.J.) and Christie Von Pusch (Bryn Mawr, Pa.).
"The 2012 class is one of the largest classes we have ever signed and just oozes with talent," Head coach Robin Petrini said. "They are all very bright young ladies that understand the commitment, drive, and determination it takes to be successful in the classroom and on the field as a student-athlete at Penn State. We are very excited about what each one brings to our roster and we are eager to see them succeed throughout their careers."
NEXT TIME OUT
Penn State continues its 10-game home stand when it welcomes Big Ten rival Michigan State to Beard Field for a three-game set Apr.7-8. The Lions and Spartans begin with a 2:00 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday before a single game at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.